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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Poll: Public still prefers censure

December 19, 1998
Web posted at: 4:28 p.m. EST (2128 GMT)

WASHINGTON (December 19) -- Nearly half of the American public, looking forward to the next step in the impeachment process, want the Senate to end a trial immediately and vote to censure President Bill Clinton instead, according to a new CNN/TIME Poll.

Another third would prefer to avoid a Senate trial by having Clinton resign, and only one in six say they want to see a Senate trial proceed.

The results are not surprising: censure remains the most popular option among the public. If given a choice between impeachment, censure or no action at all, 43 percent say they would most like to see Congress censure Clinton and just 30 percent would prefer impeachment.

Most Americans have a favorable view of the Democratic party, but only 36 percent of the public has a favorable view of the Republican party.

The poll also shows that the number of Americans who say that things are going well in the country has dropped from 78 percent in October to 60 percent today. One potential reason for that may be the 74 percent who say that political events in Washington are out of control.

Clinton's approval rating, at 64 percent, remains high, as does the number of Americans who approve of the decision to attack Iraq.

Three-quarters favor using military force to remove Saddam Hussein from power, the highest figure recorded since 1991.

The new CNN/TIME Poll was based on interviews with 1,031 adult Americans conducted December 17-18, before the House voted on articles of impeachment. The poll has a margin of sampling error ranging from +/- 3 percentage points to +/- 4 percentage points, depending on the question.

Here are the questions and answers:

Question 1: As you probably know, the House of Representatives is considering a resolution to impeach President Clinton. If the majority of the House votes for impeachment, the Senate would have to decide whether Clinton is guilty and should be removed from office. Based on what you know, do you think the House should vote for or against the impeachment of Bill Clinton?

Should House Impeach Clinton?

Yes       37%                      
No        61%                      

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Question 2: If the vote goes through in the House of Representatives, an impeachment trial will be conducted in the Senate, where a two-thirds vote would remove Clinton from office. Which of these options do you think would be best for the country -- for the Senate trial to go ahead in order to determine guilt or innocence, for the Senate to end the trial immediately and vote to censure, or for Clinton to end the trial immediately by resigning from office?

If House Impeaches Clinton, What Should Happen?

Senate trial           16%         
No trial/resignation   31%          
No trial/censure       48%  

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Question 3: Which of the following possible outcomes of the investigation of Bill Clinton would you most like to see happen -- Clinton is impeached and removed from office, Clinton is censured by Congress and remains in office, or Clinton remains in office and Congress takes no action against him?

What Would You Prefer To See Congress Do?

                   Now   October   
Censure Clinton    43%     28%
Impeach Clinton    30%     12%
No action          25%     34%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Question 4: How well do you think things are going in the country these days -- very well, fairly well, badly, or very badly?

Things Are Going Well In Country Today

Now       60%
October   78%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Question 5: Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with this statement: "Political events in Washington are out of control."

Are Political Events Out of Control?

Yes        74%
No         24%

Sampling error: +/-4% pts

Question 6: Please tell me whether you have generally favorable or generally unfavorable impressions of the Democrats/Republicans in Congress, or whether you are not familiar enough to say one way or the other?

Opinion of Parties in Congress

            Favorable  Unfavorable      
Democrats     53%         27%
Republicans   36%         47%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Question 7: In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way President Clinton is handling his job as President?

How Clinton is Handling His Job as President

Approve        64%
Disapprove     32%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Question 8: Do you approve or disapprove of the decision to attack Iraq?

U.S. Attack on Iraq

Approve       69%
Disapprove    21%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Question 9: Do you favor or oppose using military force now to remove Saddam Hussein from power?

Favor Using Military Force To Remove Saddam From Power

Now          76%
1996         65%
1991         58%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Question 10: As you may have heard or read, the new Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Robert Livingston, has publicly admitted to having adulterous affairs. In your view, should the fact that Livingston had adulterous affairs disqualify him from voting on President Clinton's impeachment, or don't you feel that way?

Should Livingston's Affair Disqualify Him From Voting on Impeachment?

Yes      29%                             
No       66%                             

Sampling error: +/-4% pts

Investigating the President

Article I: Perjury before Grand Jury
Approved 228 - 206, roll call
For: 223 Republicans, 5 Democrats
Against: 200 Democrats, 5 Republicans, 1 Independent
1 Dem not voting

Article III: Obstruction of justice related to Jones case
Approved 221 - 212, roll call
For: 216 Republicans, 5 Democrats
Against: 199 Democrats, 12 Republicans, 1 Independent
2 Dems not voting

Article II: Perjury in Paula Jones case
Rejected 229 - 205, roll call
Against: 200 Democrats, 28 Republicans, 1 Independent
For: 200 Republicans, 5 Democrats
1 Dem not voting

Article IV: Abuse of high office
Rejected 285 - 148, roll call
Against: 203 Democrats, 81 Republicans, 1 Independent
For: 147 Republicans, 1 Democrats
2 Dems not voting


Saturday, December 19, 1998

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